U.S. Government Shutdown Looms Again

House fails to pass funding bill needed by Sept. 30

In a surprise outcome on Wednesday, the House of Representatives failed to pass a bill needed to fund the federal government past Sept. 30.

The vote dealt the Republican leadership a setback, as they had expected the bill to pass. But conservative Republicans opposed to the amount of spending broke ranks with leaders, and nearly all Democrats opposed the bill as well.

The New York Times reported that the vote was 230-195, with only six Democrats voting for the bill and 48 Republicans voting against it. Conservative Republicans opposed it because they felt it did not do enough to cut spending, while Democrats were dissatisfied with the amount of disaster aid.

The bill provided only a little more than half as much disaster relief funding as a similar bill passed last week by the Senate with backing from 10 Republicans, and offset much of that with spending cuts to a loan program to create energy-efficient cars that Democrats said had already created 40,000 jobs and could bring more.

Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., who was an architect of the bill, was quoted saying, “While Congress has an undeniable obligation to thoroughly address our nation’s disaster relief needs, we can no longer afford to simply throw money at calamities and then ask the hard questions later.”

Reuters reported that Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said disaster relief funding should be considered an emergency and not be offset. She was quoted saying, “There are many people in many states who are wondering how in the world Congress could spend $1.3 trillion on wars and rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan without one offset [while] we’re having difficulty getting a vote on $6.9 billion for Americans rebuilding their own farms, homes, bridges and communities.”

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